We’re constantly seeking out the new and notable in Houston’s dining scene, and there's always a healthy collection of fresh concepts to try. If you find yourself eating at the same places night after night, ditch the routine and give your palate something new! Bookmark this page to see the best restaurants to try now.
True Food Kitchen
1700 Post Oak Blvd
Houston, Texas 77056
You don’t have to be a die-hard Yogi to dine at True Food Kitchen. You need only a desire to give your body nutrients, and your palate something memorable. With a menu developed from Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, this Galleria-area New American chain link offers health-conscious eats including plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options (there’s also fish and meat on the menu). Even the drinks have a feel-good bent: many wines are sustainable or organic, and most beers are locally sourced. Eco-minded furnishings and patio seating fill out the vibrant, modern space.
Holley's Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar
3201 Louisiana St
Houston, TX 77006
Holley’s menu is an enticing mix of Pan-Asian flavors with Texas and Louisiana influences. As the restaurant’s name implies, fish, seafood and oysters are the main focus, but there's beef and lamb as well. The bourbon-centric Lancelot Bar offers 22 varieties, plus five infusions (cherry; black mission fig; black coffee and peppercorn; apple; and lavender, cloves and cinnamon). Also on hand: 10 seasonal cocktails, 120 wines and 35 champagnes.
Parking comes easy courtesy of valet and a self-parking garage located behind the restaurant.
Suite C, Floor 2, 2416 Brazos St
Houston, TX 77006
A low-key cocktail lounge from the partners behind Cook and Collins and Pub Fiction, plus bartender Chris Frankel (Anvil, RDG + Bar Annie,Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar).
To find this hidden refuge, enter through Cook and Collins and follow the right-side staircase to the second floor, home to the 800-sq.-ft. bar with seating for 30 inside and 10 out.
The minimal and modern Victorian design features charcoal-gray walls, black and gray furniture (a mix of couches, benches and bar seats), plus an eclectic mix of art pieces on the wall, ranging from several resin animal heads to a large charcoal drawing of a human skeleton.
Downtown building lights — seen through a horizontal window above the bar — pop in the backdrop against the dim-lit interior. The music list is still being refined, but expect '80s hits with a new wave twist on the weekends and more mellow tunes during the week.
Imbibe 10 cocktails — five classic and five creative tipples will rotate seasonally — from a small but stellar menu. Also available: four global wines and nine beers including microbrews, local domestic crafts and Lone Star. Here are five drinks to try.
1) Bartender’s Choice. Tell the bartender whether you like your cocktails light and refreshing or heavy and spirit-forward, then stand back and watch your custom creation come to life.
2) Harmony in Red. Served on the rocks in a tall glass, this bright-red drink is a slightly sweet blend of white rum, strawberry, lime, Italian apéritif and soda.
3) Stone Raft. The palate-pleasing libation makes for a nice before- or after-dinner drink. Campari gives it a bitter edge while white port, grapefruit and tonic round our the flavors.
4) Royal Tokaji Dry Furmint 2011. The only white wine on the list is a Hungarian one. Dry, crisp and clean, it makes for one cool sip.
5) The (off-menu) Martinez. Complex and flavorful, this classic is made with sweet vermouth, Old Tom gin, orange bitters and maraschino liqueur.
Spare Key is now open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 PM until 2 AM.
Houston Watch CO
913 Franklin St
Houston, TX 77002
The front door of the bar is easy to miss because of the fairly narrow storefront. It’s roughly in the middle of the 900 block of Franklin near where Kitchen Incubator used to be.
The bar menu focuses on the classics with a special emphasis on Old Fashioneds. Three different versions are on the list: traditional, with rye, turbinado syrup, Angostura and Peychaud’s; a sotol version with agave and mole bitters and a bourbon Old Fashioned with simple syrup and bitters. They’re $8 each.
Bovine & Barley
416 Main St
Houston, TX 77002
Downtown’s chockablock revival of nightlife recently added another winning option for cocktails and cold beers with Bovine & Barley. Taste from the fork-and-knife, meat-heavy menu to fuel your nights including ahi tuna steak, barbecue ribs and jalapeno burgers.
Stop in and snap a pic by the giant, light bulb-clad HTX sign, and toss back a few cold ones on warm summer nights from vendors such as 8th Wonder, Karbach and New Braunfels Brewing Company.
2517 Ralph St
A new patio bar serving craft beer, cocktails and coastal Mexican seafood. Located in the heart of Montrose, the two-story building (which formerly housed EJ’s Bar) is poised to be one of the summer's hottest hangout spots. The airy 7,000-sq.-ft. space showcases art that the owners collected during trips to Mexico, such as hand-blown glass light fixtures, along with an indoor bar made from a repurposed 102-year-old sycamore tree. An expansive first-floor patio holds an air-conditioned bar area nicknamed Red’s Bar (in honor of a former dancer and bartender at EJ’s) and a koi pond, while the upstairs patio and bar space overlooks the bustling lower Westheimer area.
All three bars will pour regionally brewed craft beers on tap. There are 12 cocktails on the drinks list, ranging from straight-up classics to new riffs on traditional cocktails, plus six frozen drinks (including a margarita). Our favorite is the refreshing Watermelon Fresca, a mix of tequila blanco, Aperol and watermelon juice garnished with mint and watermelon balls.
The kitchen offers 22 items of regional Mexican food, plus a sampling of Tex-Mex favorites, with a heavy emphasis on seafood and on shareable small plates.
1814 Washington Ave
This dual concept specializes in high quality meats and elevated customer service. Providing a complete bespoke butcher and delicatessen experience featuring some of the finest and most thoughtfully sourced products within Texas and beyond, The Butcher Shop specializes in custom hand cuts, house-made and house-cured meats and sausages, as well as a charcuterie, importing the finest Italian prosciuttos to unique gems like the ‘Gourmet Tennshootoe’ from The Hammery in Tennessee. Standout cuts include Texas-bred Wagyu beef from the Gearhart Ranch in West Texas, Japanese Kobe straight from Japan and in-house dry-aged USDA prime beef – all hand cut daily in The Butcher Shop. In the restaurant, patrons can enjoy an elegant dining experience paired with a menu boasting Wagyu Carpaccio, raw bar selections, fresh seafood and steakhouse classics such as Châteaubriand for two, Surf and Turf beef Wellington, and the Carpet Bagger steak. The lunch menu, which is entirely different from the dinner menu, includes unique hamburgers, meat-driven pastas, salads and sandwiches along with noteworthy dishes like a bone-in chopped steak.
1700 Post Oak Blvd #190
Houston, TX 77056
North Italia is our love letter to Italy; a place that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped off a charming side street to discover a culinary gem. Services include lunch, dinner, and happy hour on weekdays and a not-to-miss brunch on weekends (with its own intoxicating perks like half-off bottles of wine all day Sunday). For your noonday meal, enjoy a smorgasbord of sandwiches served on freshly baked bread, one of the three things not made in-house but instead as collaboration with Kraftsmen Baking using North Italia's recipes. The Italian grinder comes bursting with turkey, Molinari salami, provolone, pepperoncini relish, romaine, tomato, onion, and oregano while the cheese Panini is a cheese lover's dream filled with mozzarella, provolone, grana padano, basil pesto, and Campari tomatoes.
Dinner swaps sandwiches for scrumptious entrees the likes of braised short ribs, seafood, rosemary chicken, and prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloin. Try the fig & prosciutto pizza with goat cheese and arugula and "The Pig" featuring pepperoni, soppressata, salami, and Italian fennel sausage. Fun fact: whatever dough remains at the end of the day is turned into homemade buns for the juicy, cheesy burgers.
The beverage program at North Italia, which boasts an assortment of creative yet approachable menu of cocktails that incorporate the fresher, lighter flavors of Italy's northern region and likewise complement the food of same origin. Popular favorites include the Ducati, a blend of Gran Centenario anejo, Solerno blood orange, grappa, and clover honey and the Julietta, which brings together vanilla & ginger infused Smirnoff, St. Germain, lime, and topped with Prosecco.
In line with the mission to source locally when possible, breweries Karbach, St. Arnold, Cedar Creek, and Southern Star round out a beer list that also includes classics like Peroni, Stelle Artois, and Moretti La Rossa. Wine is most certainly offered as well with a healthy mix of international options in red and white. -Ellie Sharp
Peska Seafood Culture
1700 Post Oak Boulevard #1-190
Houston, TX 77056
What can you expect from this restaurant? Well, the seafood is fresh and taste like it came from the ocean to your table. Their ability to influence different cooking traditions from around the world and still keep their signature style is remarkable. The concept behind Peska is a great one; clean and delicious seafood minus the fluff. They offer table side fish consultation and they also have a fish market!